A triumphant reunion it was not for David Moyes, as Everton came to Old Trafford and left with all three points. The visitors needed until the final five minutes to grab their goal, but that mattered little: it’s Roberto Martinez’s side that leaves with the glory, while Manchester United remain in eighth place, 12 points behind leaders Arsenal.
The first half may have been scoreless, but it wasn’t boring. Everton, perhaps determined to prove themselves against their former manager, started off brightly, with two early attempts from Romelu Lukaku, and a tenth minute shot from Kevin Mirallas that Davide De Gea had to tip over the bar.
Then it was United’s turn to start turning the screws. Their first real attempt came after 15 minutes, when Wayne Rooney forced Tim Howard to parry his shot, and the Everton defense cleared the danger. As United started to put on the pressure, Howard was able to easily save a shot from Shinji Kagawa, while Ryan Giggs had a header go inches wide. Shortly before the break, Rooney had another go from close range, but again, it gave Howard no trouble.
Although United came out unchanged to start the second half, Moyes had made a double change before the hour was out — and no, it wasn’t a conservative switch to shut down the game and ensure a point. Out came Kagawa and Rafael, on came Nani and Adnan Januzaj. When, despite a flurry of activity around the 70th minute mark, United still couldn’t break through the Everton defense, Moyes decided to replace Danny Welbeck with Javier Hernández for the final ten minutes.
But in the end, it was Martinez’s tactics, and his persistence, that won out. In the 85th minute, Kevin Mirallas hit the post, then Romelu Lukaku went wide. The goal seemed inevitable. Sure enough, Lukaku blazed past compatriot Maroune Fellaini to put his cross in and Bryan Oviedo easily got past his defender at the far post to shoot past De Gea. That’s his second goal in as many matches — surely it’s not fair for Everton to have two left backs of such talent?
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael (Januzaj 58), Vidic, Smalling, Evra; Valencia, Fellaini, Giggs, Kagawa (Nani 58), Welbeck (Hernández 81); Rooney
Subs not used: Lindegaard, Evans, Cleverley, Young
Everton: Howard, Oviedo, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, McCarthy, Barry, Pienaar (Osman 80), Barkley (Deulofeu 69), Mirallas (Naismith 92), Lukaku
Subs not used: Robles, Heitinga, Jelavic, Stones